GQ honors Serena Williams by naming her its 2018 Woman of the Year and featuring her on one of its four covers for its December issue. But the cover has sparked backlash over its design, which has people arguing if the magazine is dissing the former world’s No. 1 tennis player.
In her cover, the word “men” on “Men of the Year” is crossed, and is replaced with ” ‘Woman’ “. The problem is the word “Woman” is written in quotation marks, making people wonder if the magazine is dissing Serena and questioning her identity as a woman instead.
The backlash is fueled by the history of ugly criticism directed at the athlete over her body type. The 37-year-old mother of one has been repeatedly body-shamed and described as masculine, with Serena herself opening up about being compared to a man in 2017.
“i’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong,” she wrote on Reddit last year. “It has been said that I don’t belong in Women’s sports – that I belong in Men’s – because I look stronger than many other women do. No. I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it.”
One person points out that Gal Gadot‘s cover on last year’s issue does not feature quotation marks around “woman.” Thus, many ask such question as, “i just wanna know why virgil put ‘woman’ in quotation marks on a serena williams cover,” to the magazine.
While the magazine has not offered an explanation to the quotation marks on its cover, it’s worth noted that the word “woman” was handwritten by fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who has collaborated with Serena on her U.S. Open apparel. He is known for using quotation marks in his work. Serena’s outfits during the U.S. Open featured the word “LOGO” and her name “SERENA”, all written in quotation marks.
Other stars gracing the cover of GQ’s Men of the Year edition are “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan, “Crazy Rich Asians” breakout star Henry Golding and actor/director Jonah Hill.
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